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Open Innovation

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The internet has opened the possibility of involving outside agents, such as consumers, to provide ideas for products for a company. Prior to the internet, consumers did not have a direct link to the decision makers in an organization. With the opening of the internet channel, consumers not only can, but want to, interact with a brand.

That interaction can take the form of:

  • Feedback – both positive and negative. Such as too much tomato sauce on a pizza, a picture of which is posted to Domino’s Facebook. Domino’s replied and apologized and gave a free pizza in return.
  • Requesting Features and Improvements – people using your product know exactly what it can and can’t do in a real life situation and what real-life issues they encounter, such as twisting cords on hairdryers (why don’t they fix that one?)
  • New Product Ideas – while using your products consumers might have product ideas, such as brand extensions with flavoring in cough medicine, or even totally new products.

Even with the internet, if gate keepers stop information flowing to the decisions makers then the company will not be able to benefit from the wisdom of the crowd. The wisdom of the crowd theory holds that the aggregate wisdom of a group of individuals is at least as good as any one expert. (Wisdom of the crowd, 2013) By channeling the ideas created from a group of individuals, a company is likely to get better solutions to problems or creative direction than from asking experts.

The problems with accepting consumer feedback can include:

  • The squeaky wheel – only people with issues complain, the vast majority of people are quite happy with the product but one person with too much tomato sauce is the only person getting the attention.
  • Some ideas will not work – for manufacturing, production, or other reasons. Being seen to ignore suggestions could be a negative.
  •  Crowds are sometimes dumb – ‘Snakes on a Plane’ was filmed because of perceived demand; however, it flopped in the box office.

There are many ways to interact with consumers online. Social media platforms tend to be the biggest and easiest to setup. A Facebook sponsored (company) page, Twitter feed, Google+ and Google Places. By providing mechanisms for feedback you can circumvent the consumer from venting their frustrations on sites you cannot control as easily, such as RipOffReport.com, Yelp, or others.

References

Wisdom of the crowd. (2013, October 20). Retrieved from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wisdom_of_the_crowd

Written by Dylan

October 20th, 2013 at 4:13 pm

Posted in Marketing

Examples of Abandoned Cart Emails

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Part (all) of a search marketers job is to increase sales. To that end implementing an abandoned cart system allows you to double back to someone who almost bought and try once again to convert them. Once an abandoned cart system is in place you should work on optimizing for conversions, after all higher conversion rates mean more sales which makes everyone happy.

To this end I found this blog post 37 Examples of Abandoned Shopping Cart Emails which has the text of 37 different abandoned cart emails sent out by various companies on the web. Not only did I find the text interesting but the fact that Zappos has two text messages shows they are split testing their abandoned cart emails.

Written by Dylan

August 21st, 2013 at 5:32 pm

Posted in Email Marketing

Problems with Working in Customer Service

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Having been on the wrong side of bad customer service, this video is from the perspective of the customer service person

Written by Dylan

August 12th, 2013 at 10:49 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Google Tells You About Manual Penalties

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Finally, after years of asking for it, Google now let site owners know about manually applied penalties.This information is easily available now through the Google Webmaster Tools site at http://www.google.com/webmasters/tools under ‘Search Traffic->Manual Actions’.  Apparently 2% of sites have a manual action against them.

For background Google has two types of penalties, algorithmic penalties are in their ranking algorithm and are automatically applied and removed as necessary – this includes the Panda and Penguin updates along with a whole host of other penalties. Manual penalties are applied by someone in Google after they have reviewed your site, and can only be removed by someone at Google. In order for manual penalties to be removed you need to file a re-inclusion request, no such request is required for automatic penalties.

Written by Dylan

August 9th, 2013 at 11:12 am

Improve your Conversion Rate

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Written by Dylan

August 2nd, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

The Future of SEO?

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The latest Google update has come and gone. That must mean that it is time to start debating the future of SEO — or rather, what new thing is going to mean the death of SEO this year. Anyone who has been in the industry for more than a year can recall the cyclical arguments of how SEO is dying and in the process of being replaced by something else. What that something else is changes from directories to portals to mobile to social media to some other factor.

For those out of the loop, SEO stands for search engine optimization. SEO is the process of optimizing a webpage to appear in a high position in search engine results. The higher the position, the more people are likely to click through to the page and engage with the content there, usually by making a purchase or filling out a lead form.

Most experts will agree that SEO is alive and well, it is just changing. Any SEO with a sense of history understands that change is the industry constant. The search engine of 2010 doesn’t look like the one from 2005 which looks even less like the search engines of 2000 (pre-Google).  So the future of SEO is change and in the immediate future that means incorporating social signals and addressing the diversification of search engines.

Social Media Signals

one of the rare nonapple laptops seen in an otherwise cool park full of cool people The Future of SEO?It is true that the explosion of social media has changed the landscape of SEO over the past few years.  Instead of looking to millions of web pages to determine what people on the web want to see, Google & Bing now have to take into account all the tweets, pins, shares, likes, etc. that indicate what people are “voting for” in terms of web content so that they can serve up that content in their results.

Any SEO that isn’t taking social signals into account when designing their strategies is missing out and may, mistakenly, begin to believe that SEO doesn’t “work” anymore.  Those on top of their game have already realized this fact and have integrated social signals into their strategies, helping their clients or their own sites, stay at the top of the results.

Diversification of Search Engines

Today Google dominates SEO, and has for quite some time. However, there was SEO before Google and there will be SEO after Google loses its dominance, or at least loses some of its market share. And the latter is already happening.

Tied into the rise of social media is a change in how people search.  While many still have Google, or Bing, as their go to search engine, more and more people are learning to search in other places.  Someone who wants to find out about the work of a particular actor or writer may go to imdb.com, amazon.com or Wikipedia and search there rather than going to a search engine.  Facebook has introduced their Graph Search, and many people searching for specific photos or videos turn to Flickr or YouTube directly.

The proliferation of search from traditional web engines like Google does not mean the end of SEO. It means a good SEO professional is going to have to know how to optimize a site for all the relevant search engines, whether they are web search, image search, video search, social search, or some other type of search.

Looking for the short answer to the future of SEO? It’s not social signals or diversification or any other catch phrase. It’s evolution based on change in user behavior. Any SEO who can stay ahead of that curve will never have cause to believe that SEO is dead.

photo by: Ed Yourdon

Written by Dylan

July 19th, 2013 at 8:55 pm

Penguin 4 – What to Expect

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ice cased adelie penguins after a blizzard at cape denison  photograph by frank hurley Penguin 4   What to ExpectWhile there is confusion about whether the upcoming update to Penguin is 4 or 2.0, there is no doubt that a major update is around the corner.  Matt Cutts, head of Google’s web spam team, announced that it was coming back in March and, if rumors are to believed, it is still on schedule to go live any day.

Penguin 1 rolled out on April 24, 2012 and affected 3.1% of search queries. By any measure this had a significant impact on various websites and specific industries.  Cutts has gone on record saying that this update to Penguin (which they refer to internally as Penguin 2.0 but the SEO community counts as Penguin 4) will be “more comprehensive and go deeper” than the original Penguin.

The goal of Google’s webspam team is to improve the quality of search results for the end user. This means recognizing websites that are authorities for that query and that provide unique and valuable information.  Spammers or Black Hat SEOs attempt to fool Google into putting their results first so that they siphon off the traffic for high volume search queries and translate that traffic into profits.

Each of the major Google updates, whether Panda or Penguin or all the way back to Florida, attempts to counteract specific problems in the search algorithm that have been successfully manipulated by spammers.  The ideal result would be better search results. The actual result is that countless companies and brands find their websites disappearing from the search engine results pages (SERPs) and losing customers by the dozens, hundreds, or even thousands.

When it comes to the next Penguin update, webmasters can expect the following:

  • Changes targeted to improving queries such as “payday loans,” porn queries, and other queries that are contested by spammers as highly profitable.
  • Penalties for or devaluing of advertorials, paid content designed to pass as regular articles.
  • Blocking paid ads or paid content that attempt to pass PageRank in violation of Google’s quality guidelines. Said guidelines require “clear and conspicuous disclosure” of paid status.

The update will also attempt to address honest sites that were negatively affected by previous updates. Since the Google algorithm isn’t perfect, it sometimes penalizes legitimate sites by mistake. As currently planned, Penguin 4 will try to soften the impact on true authority sites due to improved signals for recognizing site authority.

Of course, Penguin 4 won’t be the end of the updates.  Google is constantly working on new improvements and rolling out minor and not-so-minor changes.  According to Cutts other changes in the works for summer 2013 include more sophisticated link analysis, better communication tools for webmasters, and improved hack site detection.

Malcolm Pegge is a freelance tech writer whose work has appeared on dozens of tech blogs and magazines. In addition to following SEO and marketing technology, he has been known to research sports technology for sites like http://scotttuckermotorsports.com/.

Written by Dylan

July 6th, 2013 at 10:22 pm

Purple FLAMING Rotor! – NASCAR Pit Crew tire change POV

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Pretty awesome, but still not as fast as Formula 1

Written by Dylan

March 8th, 2013 at 5:46 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Coolhandle.com Hosting Suck

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They just suspended one of our sites without warning. It’s paid until June. It has very little traffic so can’t be overusing resources. Seriously, CoolHandle.com, if there’s something wrong on the site (used as spam gateway), a warning email first would allow the issue to be addressed. As it is if there is something going on then I can’t fix it as the site is down.

Another host on my ‘don’t use’ list.

Written by Dylan

January 3rd, 2013 at 3:55 pm

New Chapter Supplements

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I’ve been reading some good things on the New Chapter supplements including Zyflamend Whole Body especially with the natural Cox-2 inhibitor, with the other Cox 2 inhibitors getting taken off the market perhaps a natural one would work best?

They also have Zyflamend Prostate, Zyflamend Breast, Zyflamend Heart which include the same benefits.

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Written by Dylan

December 1st, 2012 at 7:29 pm

Posted in Uncategorized